A butterfly without borders
On a sunny August day members of the Wyre Forest Study Group gathered to visit and survey several wildflower meadows in the forest. On this occasion the group were also joined by several entomologists from Shropshire.
At times the air was thick with the sound of buzzing insects (including stridulating crickets and grasshoppers) and the study groups were able to record many species of insects, spiders and wildflowers. One of the most conspicuous was the arrival of the Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui).
This butterfly is renowned for its impressive migration abilities. Often emerging in large numbers from its breeding grounds in North Africa, it fans out northwards each year across Europe, including the UK. In exceptional years they have been recorded as far north as the Arctic Circle, over 4,800 miles (3000km) from its winter breeding grounds. Its not thought that the butterfly survives the winter in Europe as the caterpillar is unable to tolerate the low winter temperatures.